In the depths of the Baltic Sea, a remote controlled submarine releases a mine that is located next to a gas pipeline.
Other mines are placed at critical points along hundreds of kilometers of pipelines connecting Russia and Germany. They contain the equivalent of hundreds of pounds of TNT.
When detonated, either by a timing device or remotely from a secret control room, aftershocks are felt 800 miles away, and seismologists compare the explosions to earthquakes.
Within seconds, the Nord Stream 1 and 2 start leaking. In a matter of days, millions of cubic meters of natural gas have been released into Danish and Swedish waters.
Mission accomplished for whoever instigated this unprecedented act of industrial terrorism.
But was it also the amazing act of self-sabotage by Vladimir Putin that the world assumes it was?
After all, the president who threatened to “end” Nord Stream earlier this year resides not in the Kremlin but in the White House. US President Joe Biden could not have been clearer when, in early February, he promised to end Nord Stream should Russian troops and tanks enter Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden could not have been clearer when, in early February, he promised to end Nord Stream if Russian troops and tanks entered Ukraine.
A Danish Ministry of Defense photo shows the site of the gas leak from the Nord Stream pipeline
The invasion happened. So, did Biden get his revenge like he promised?
At the time, he dismissed suggestions that such an operation would be too complicated to carry out or too damaging diplomatically given that Nord Stream 2 was controlled by Germany. To those who were hesitant, he added: ‘We will, I promise. We will be able to do it.
These comments have proven to be a propaganda gift to the Kremlin after the leaks.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mocked the mistake-prone US president and challenged him to account for his words and actions.
It may seem fanciful to look anywhere other than Moscow to find the perpetrators. However, these incidents occurred in areas of the Baltic Sea belonging to US allies Denmark and Sweden.
While Russian ships have the right to enter these ‘exclusive economic zones’, the US and its friends are expected to keep a close eye on their activity. Perhaps the United States stood by, allowing the plot to take place?
The thinking in Washington DC might have been that such an incident would convince European states most dependent on Russia for energy supplies to redouble their efforts to achieve energy independence.
Was this the amazing act of self-sabotage by Vladimir Putin that the world assumes it to be?
It is no coincidence that these states, like Germany, have been the most reluctant to actively challenge Russia’s military supremacy in Ukraine and the most enthusiastic for President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate with President Putin.
There is certainly consternation in continental Europe following the attack on the pipelines. The natural gas that is released is 90 percent methane, a key driver of global warming. So Putin, or whoever, has weaponized pollution.
Denmark has said the discharge could account for a third of its greenhouse gas emissions. Norway put its oil and gas facilities on alert for attacks. Lithuania has tightened security at its liquefied natural gas import terminal.
But whose long-term strategic goals are being achieved by the attacks, Russia’s or the US’s? The plot escalated on Tuesday when a former Polish minister thanked the United States for the Nord Stream explosions.
On Twitter, Radoslaw Sikorski posted an image of a massive methane gas spill on the surface of the Baltic Sea with the comment: ‘Thank you USA.’ The hardline MEP later tweeted that if Russia wants to continue supplying gas to Europe, it must “talk to the countries that control the pipelines.”
What he wanted to say? Both Russia and the US have the technology and means to carry out such an attack, while surveillance of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea is said to be spotty.
Many Russian surface warships carry miniature submarines such as the Harpsichord Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), the Klavesin, and the Losharik. These intelligent ‘marine robots’ can be used for deep-sea surveillance and the delivery of explosive payloads.
Historically, submarine warfare has been a Russian strong point, a tradition that continues today. These UUVs are equipped with precision navigation and communication equipment and their diving capability puts the bottom of the Baltic Sea within reach.
The attacks also highlighted the vulnerability of submarine cable networks that Britain and other countries rely on.
Retired Rear Admiral Chris Parry told the Daily Mail that the UK is “very open” to a similar attack.
He issued a shocking warning last night, saying: ‘The protection and defense of these vital power and communication arteries have been neglected, even as military and civilian technologies and platforms, both manned and unmanned, capable of disrupting and damaging them have multiplied significantly. . It is not just the UK that is at risk in this regard, but the entire international community.”
Fears of internet and mobile phone blackouts this winter have recently intensified as Europe does not have enough backup systems to rely on in the event of power outages.
By targeting key infrastructure, a hostile state, particularly one that, like Russia, has suffered battlefield setbacks, can cripple another state. Cutting off the power supply is just one way to achieve this.
Russia, or whoever, has put Britain and Europe on high alert for further attacks, perhaps on undersea data cables carrying financial information across the Atlantic, which would wreak havoc on stock markets.